Saturday, 31 January 2015

Six Months Old Today!

I know it's cliche to say it, but how has six months passed already? I cannot believe I have been a mummy for half a year, or that we are half way to Little Miss's first birthday! Here is a little update of her life so far. 

She Loves....
Making lots of noise and blowing raspberries (happy ones, frustrated ones and, I'm fairly certain, 'yeah, right, mum' ones)
Being on her feet but won't bounce in her jumper
Being carried
Bath time
Baby Sensory

She Can...
Roll both ways
Sit for almost a minute without help
Almost crawl (there's no arm/leg co-ordination yet, but she can travel forwards pretty quickly!)

She has...
Eaten (and decorated with): carrot, runner beans, cucumber, peas, sweetcorn, pear, mango, grapes, baby porridge and Yeo Valley yoghurts and, for the first time today, bread
No teeth (but plenty of teething)
Been swimming once (and loved it)
Been to the zoo
Never slept through a whole night but has woken up once in the night three times (small victories!)
Blue eyes and lots of fair hair

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My Top Five Baby Purchases

These are the top five baby items I would struggle to live without and would definitely recommend.

Where would we be without the Sleepyhead? I first read about this miracle product while I was pregnant, but since it was quite expensive I decided to wait and see if we would need one first. We did. Little Miss hated being put down - the second she touched her crib mattress her eyes would blink open and she would start to cry. As a result, she spent most of her first few months asleep on me. But the Sleepyhead ensures that we both get a good night's sleep (and some decent naps during the day time too). And it's easy to take with me when I spend the day at my mum's, so I know Little Miss will have a good nap while we are there. It looks so comfy that plenty of adults have asked me if they could get one in their size. I only wish we had bought it sooner. As an added bonus, if you're a member of the NCT you can get a decent amount of money off if you buy through their online store. If you have a reluctant sleeper, this is a must-buy! I think there's a good chance we will be purchasing the grand version in a couple of months.   

Picked up on a whim from Sainsburys when it was on special offer, but quickly became our most used toy. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about using this so much, since it requires no interaction/engagement on Little Miss' part as she can only stare at it. But boy does she love it! Her whole face lights up when we put this on and her little arms and legs are soon kicking away in excitement. It's a great way to calm her down if she is fussing, or a useful form of entertainment while I'm putting her clean clothing away. We have bought a walker that matches for when she's a bit bigger. 

We purchased this after seeing a friend using it. I prefer it to the Bumbo as the activity tray is great. Little Miss didn't really like sitting on our laps (she prefers to stand) so this has helped her to practise sitting and strengthen the muscles needed to do it. She is now quite happy to sit (with a bit of support) anywhere. I use the snug every day and I think it will be helpful for weaning too. 

Little Miss likes to be sick. A lot. So we've found we can never buy enough muslins. They are always going in and out of the wash and M&S ones have proven to be of excellent quality, far surpassing the set we initially bought from Sainsburys. They're a great size, look nice and have stayed really soft. We could not get through a day without them. 

While I was pregnant, my husband and I thought a lot about co-sleeping with Little Miss. I didn't want a Moses basket since they seem so old-fashioned and we weren't wowed by any of the cribs we saw either. Then we discovered the amazing range of cribs which attach to the side of the bed, allowing you to co-sleep safely. Of course, Little Miss didn't think much of it at first, and we ended up with her in our bed for a while anyway but the Chicco is now a great holder for our Sleepyhead. It means that I can feed Little Miss in the night without having to get out of bed and it can also be easily transported if we are spending the night anywhere else. We did consider renting the NCT equivalent, but decided that this would be more cost effective if we have another child. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Car Seat Conundrums

My husband spent a lot of time researching car seats while I was pregnant. I think it was one of the things that helped him to feel more involved. He soon stumbled upon the new car seat regulations, i-Size, and decided that was the style of car seat we should be purchasing, so that Little Miss would be rear facing for as long as possible. We had already decided we would like the Maxi Cosi Pebble, since it attaches to most prams, so we bought the 2WayPearl IsoFix base to go with it, ready for the 2WayPearl we planned to buy when Little Miss was big enough.

However, about a month ago we discovered that we had overlooked the MiloFix. Sure, it wouldn't have attached onto our pram, but we were given a free Silver Cross Simplicity when we ordered the pram anyway (which is currently sat in my parents' loft unused, probably to be sold on ebay at some point in the future). We now started to wonder whether it would be worth forgetting about the 2WayPearl and buying the MiloFix instead. There was very little difference in cost and the MiloFix would be more practical as we could use the IsoFix base in my parents car, which won't work with the IsoFix leg as it has underfloor storage compartments.

 Just when we thought we had it sussed, the AxxisFix was announced. AT £350 it's considerably more expensive than either of our other options. But it a) has an IsoFix that ticks all our boxes; b) is I-Size c) swivels 360⁰, making it easy to get Little Miss in and out. Other than the cost, the main catch with it is that it will be exclusive to Mothercare for the first six months. We have already discovered that our local Mothercare does not and will not stock the 2WayPearl because it is in the middle of a shopping centre so they can't check it will fit in our car (even though the John Lewis in the same shopping centre sold us the base without even asking what we drove…) We are therefore not sure how we will get hold of one, even if we want it.

Luckily, we still have a few months left in the Pebble to read some reviews and try to make our minds up. We do feel a bit as though all our forward planning was wasted though! And we haven't even looked at any non-Maxi Cosi i-Size seats yet!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Choosing a Highchair

Little Miss is very nearly 6 months old, which means we will soon be venturing into the as-yet uncharted territory of Baby Led Weaning and finger food. But first, we need to pick a high chair. Here are the three I am currently considering, with their pros and cons:

My SIL swears by this one as it's so easy to clean. It is also incredibly cheap, so I could easily buy a second one for at my mum's house too. But I'm not sure if we have room for a highchair that's permanently up.

It's a prettier version of the Antilop but quadruple the price! I do love how it looks though and I like the fact that it can be adjusted to the height of our table and can be used as a seat when Little Miss no longer needs the tray. However, the main point against it at the moment is that it will take up even more room than the Antilop.

I was almost ready to click 'buy' on this one until I read the reviews. Apparently the straps are near enough impossible to remove and clean properly. Everyone stresses how messy BLW is, so I'm not sure this is very practical. I do love that it folds up though, so that I can put it away between meal times.

Any thoughts? Which style of highchair did you opt for? 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Baby Fit

Okay. The day is here. The time has come to finally, finally, start my post-baby work out. It's only taken five months and three false starts. But this time I will persevere. Hopefully. Fingers crossed post-Christmas virtue and all those 'time to get healthy' statuses on my Facebook newsfeed will help me to keep going.

I should confess that I've already been incredibly lucky; I've always been slim and I didn't put very much weight on during my pregnancy. I'm also quite happy with my current body shape. I am not, however, happy with the loss of the abdominal muscles I was once so proud of which have now turned to mush. And I've eaten a ridiculous amount over Christmas and still have the stock of a small sweet shop in my cupboards. But I'm breastfeeding, so that makes the indulgence okay, right? Maybe not. No.

So far, all my plans for post-baby exercise have gone awry. My daughter hates her pram, so thoughts of going for long walks/gentle jogs while pushing her round a park went straight out the window (an issue also confounded by the fact that I have to drive to the nearest park). The only mother and baby yoga classes even vaguely local to me all occur on the one day of the week when I don't have a car to get to them. And it's not as though I can just sign up to a gym and pop along to a few classes, or hit the pool to swim a few lengths. What I need is something I can do at home when my daughter goes down for a nap, which leads me back to the Nike Training Club App I dutifully downloaded when my daughter was only six weeks old. Unfortunately, at this point my na├»ve hopes of doing 20 minute workouts each day were crushed by the slight snag that my daughter would only sleep on me. Getting her to go down in her crib for long enough to get showered and dressed was a huge achievement. Forget 'Jeanette Jenkins' 15 minute Hollywood Ab Blast' or 'Leah Kim's dynamic yoga'. Not that I wasn't getting any exercise - as well as refusing to sleep in her crib, my daughter was also happiest if I was pacing up and down the room rocking her and singing. When she would finally fall asleep, all I wanted to do was curl up next to her (which would have been far more feasible if I could put her down…)

But the purchase of a Sleepyhead now means that I can get some baby free time each day (when she deigns to go down for a nap, that is) and since today I a) didn't have a mountain of housework to get through and b) had an okay-ish night so don't need to have a nap myself, I decided I would try the Nike app once more.

My plan was initially derailed when I discovered that I had forgotten my password and I spent a few frantic minutes trying to reset it, all the while expecting my daughter to wake up and expect to play. When I finally got logged in I wasted no time in selecting a work out. The 15 minute regimes are still out - the most exercise I've done in the past month has been watching an Ultimate Frisbee tournament and I still need to get showered and dressed, and put a load of washing on before my daughter wakes up - so I settle on the 'Workout of the Week' a 7 minute core strength workout by Gracie Gold.

I'm going to take a moment now to explain how amazing the Nike app is. First of all, it's completely free. Then there's the choice: it's really easy to find a work out that will suit your needs and fit your time frame. Most need very little or no equipment and there are step-by-step picture instructions and videos all the way through to explain what you need to do. The app also keeps track of how much exercise you're doing (for that much needed guilt trip when you've been avoiding it all week). And because it's on my phone, I can use it anywhere. There is also some way of linking it to the music on your phone for a workout soundtrack, but I haven't had the time to look into that yet and I need to be able to listen out for my daughter waking up anyway.

The 7 minute workout is great. It's mostly Pilates based and isn't too taxing for a first go. It's easy to follow and I'm finished before I know it (although it takes a little over 7 minutes as I have to keep pausing it to look at the instructions for each segment). Do I feel a lot fitter? Well, no, not really. I probably need to pick a cardio workout next time. But I'm also not too worn out for all the carrying and rocking the day is likely to entail. Plus, the fact that I managed to kick-start my day with something is a huge mental boost. In fact, I might go and reward myself with some of that Christmas chocolate that needs eating…

Hopefully I will get to try out a different routine tomorrow (or whenever my daughter next agrees to go down for a morning nap!)